Veteran MO EMT Dies from Coronavirus

April 14, 2020
“Brother Billy Birmingham is Kansas City’s first line of duty death related to the COVID-19 outbreak. My hope is he is our last," Mayor Quinton Lucas said about the EMT.

Editor's note: Find's complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.

An EMT with the Kansas City Fire Department died Monday from the new coronavirus.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was “heartbroken” by the death of the longtime city employee.


“Brother Billy Birmingham is Kansas City’s first line of duty death related to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Lucas said on social media. “My hope is he is our last.”

Birmingham started with the Metropolitan Ambulance Service in 1998 and had been with the Kansas City Fire Department for the past 10 years.

“His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism,” said Fire Chief Donna Maize.

Lucas said that everyone needs to remain vigilant in preventing further spread of the virus.

City officials have discussed extending the stay at home order set to expire April 24.

Asked if he was pushing for a three-week extension of the order, Lucas said he was likely to favor that sort of timeline “to make sure that we don’t see a rapid rate of reinfections.”

Public health interests, not economic ones, should drive the conversation regarding any extension of the stay at home orders, Lucas said.

“There is no use in going through all of this work if only a few weeks later we start to see a significant community spread,” he said.

According to the Kansas City Health Department, the city has recorded 323 coronavirus cases including eight deaths.

The city will turn on the Firefighter’s Fountain and Memorial at 31st and Pennsylvania on Tuesday in remembrance of Birmingham, Lucas said.


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